NEWPORT, R.I. -- South Florida coach Skip Holtz publicly congratulated and thanked Rutgers coach Greg Schiano for starting his 11th season with the Scarlet Knights. In a league in which only one of the other seven coaches (third-year coach Doug Marrone of Syracuse), has been in his job more than one season, Holtz prizes continuity. He sees the benefit of it with his own team.
"You go out there and run all your plays and people know what to do," Holtz said. "We're not teaching assignments. A year ago, everything was, 'What do I do on this play?' 'You go over there and you block the end.'
"Now, it's about how to interpret that defense and how to block that end. It's much more how-to-do-it than what-to-do. … The offensive line, you see guys making calls on their own. 'Thank you! Not only did you call it, you understood it!' This was a beautiful thing."
One of the most difficult realities a first-year coach must deal with, Holtz said, is patience.
"Do you dummy it down?" Holtz said. "Do you really put in very little offense and defense and get them to run it really well? Where is that line between doing too much and not doing enough?"
When Holtz thinks about whether he struck the right balance last season, he thinks of quarterback B.J. Daniels. The junior struggled to grasp Holtz's offense even as he led the Bulls to an 8-5 season, including a 31-26 win in the Meineke Car Care Bowl over Clemson.
"In hindsight, if I went back, I would probably have simplified some things a little bit more for B.J., with everything that he had been through early. But towards the end of the year, if we can get the type of play we got out of him against Clemson [20-of-27, 189 yards, two touchdowns, one interception], we have a chance to be a pretty good offensive football team."